Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has revealed that Nigeria’s development partners have committed about $2 billion into the country’s agricultural transformation agenda.
Adesina said this in Abuja during the inaugural meeting of the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NAG). He disclosed that the Global Financial Institutions have endorsed the establishment of staple crop processing zones in the country, which, according to him, would attract private sector investment in the industry.
According to Adesina, the development partners rallied around Nigeria’s agric transformation efforts with commitments totaling $2 billion, which include the World Bank with $1 billion, the African Development Bank (ADB) with $500 million, USAID with $100 million, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) with $100 million, and funds from DfID, UNDP and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
He added that the stable crop processing zones were being established to setup food manufacturing plants in areas of high production for imports substitution to reduce the costs of doing business.
“I am pleased to inform you that Staple Crop Processing Zones are being established, with tax and infrastructure incentives, to attract private sector companies to set up food manufacturing plants in areas of high production, for import substitution. To reduce the cost of doing business within these zones, government will automatically upgrade infrastructure, especially the provision of power, water and roads,” he said.
Adesina also said the private sector contribution to the agricultural transformation agenda in Nigeria has tremendously increased within the last 18 months, adding that the sector was able to attract $8 billion of private sector investment commitments into the agriculture sector, from local and multinational companies.
“The private sector input to the agricultural transformation agenda in Nigeria has been massive. Within 18 months, we were able to attract $8 billion of private sector investment commitments into the agriculture sector. Since March 2013, we have received 23 Letters of Intent from indigenous and global private-sector investors with commitments worth N370 billion ($2.3 billion). The planned investments cover farm mechanisation, retail outlets, production and/or processing in rice, cassava, dairy, beef, maize, sorghum, poultry, pineapple, orange, mango, palm oil, soybeans, sugar, tomato, wheat, cotton, fish, and rubber,” he said.
The minister urged stakeholders in the agricultural sector to advocate and drive policies that would ensure the success and sustainability agric-investment in the country.
“The Nigerian Agribusiness Group (NABG) will help to drive accelerated investments in the agricultural sector and advocate for policies and incentives that will ensure success and sustainability of the agricultural transformation agenda. The group will have its own corporate persona and become the core group for driving agribusiness investments. The group will also help to identify the challenges to greater agribusiness investments and propose ways for resolving them,” he concluded.